The earth's magnetosphere protects the earth from high-energy charged particles coming from the sun. Some charged particles are deflected by the magnetosphere, while others become trapped and produce the aurora. This presentation shows a 3-dimensional model of the magnetosphere. The features that it highlights are flat ribbons representing the paths of charged particles deflected by the magnetosphere, triangular ribbons representing magnetic field lines, and colored surfaces representing constant values of magnetic force. The original model is in Open Inventor format, and is available here.
A rendering of the model of the Earths magnetosphere. The flat ribbons represent charged particles entering the influence of the magnetosphere and being deflected. The curved lines visible to the right represent the magnetic field lines extending out from the Earth. The force from the sun pushes these lines into a distinctive tail-like shape. Finally, the green surface represents a constant value for the magnetic field strength.
A closer view of the region inside the model of the magnetosphere. The field lines do not reach the Earth due to the boundary of the computational model. Also visible are contours representing different levels in the magnetic strength. Green shows the lowest of these levels, yellow is higher, and red is the highest.